ANC must heed 'lesson' from polls and improve, leaders warn at 110th birthday party in KZN
The ANC has promised to move quickly to ensure the demands of the electorate are met after the party suffered unprecedented losses during last year’s local government elections.
This was the assurance given from KwaZulu-Natal provincial chairperson Sihle Zikalala, who was speaking at the party's 110th anniversary celebration in Mpophomeni, west of Durban, on Sunday.
“Our people made it clear that they want reliable water, electricity supply and waste collection,” he said.
He said the polls took place against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, which worsened high levels of unemployment.
Zikalala, who is also the KwaZulu-Natal premier, was accompanied by the party's top brass, including former health minister Zweli Mkhize.
Zikalala said the provincial executive committee would embark on weekly outreach programmes which would require elected councillors to provide reports on service delivery.
He added that, notwithstanding the party's poor showing, it still enjoyed a majority in most councils across the province and country.
“The contest of elections had been between the ANC against the rest of political parties, who wanted to reduce the party's dominance,” he said.
He said the party should aim to be an effective opposition in areas where it lost power, instead of being a disruptive force.
We should uproot tendencies of ill-discipline and corruption. We should be rejuvenating the character of the ANC. Let's also eject those who fight in our meetings.Sihle Zikalala, ANC KZN chair
“We applaud the people who voted. We should correct all the weaknesses that we have internalised. Ours is to fast track socioeconomic transformation, which would create economic growth,” said Zikalala.
The Moses Mabhida region is the second-largest, behind eThekwini, in KwaZulu-Natal. Its struggle history is well-documented, particularly as the area where the late president Nelson Mandela was arrested by apartheid police in 1963.
Zikalala also expressed concern over the rising crime gripping the province. He said Imbali, Inanda, Umlazi, KwaMashu and Richmond were townships where crime continued to rise.
“We should work full-time to fight the proliferation of drugs, murder and rape. We want to rid our communities of guns.”
He urged communities to bolster community policing forums and form street patrols in all townships and villages.
He said 2022 had been earmarked as the year in which the party builds unity and focused on renewal. He said this gave reason to isolate members who had turned the party into a “federation” of factionalism.
“We should uproot tendencies of ill-discipline and corruption. We should be rejuvenating the character of the ANC. Let's also eject those who fight in our meetings,” he said
He called for the combating of corruption in both the public and private sectors.
ANC regional chairperson Mzimkhulu Thebolla said they would make a big effort to ensure they reclaim the uMngeni municipality from the DA.
“The party which won this municipality [DA] would only just serve as a caretaker of this municipality,” said Thebolla.
“Our people gave us a message and we ought to take heed of it. Ours is to ensure that we make an extra effort so that people see the effort.”
The address was preceded by a visit to the Mountain Rise cemetery, where Zikalala visited the grave of the party's first president, Josiah Gumede, whose family was also in attendance.
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